CINCINNATI — Let's hope those next stimulus checks come soon, because many Cincinnati-area families will need it.
Price hikes on gas and groceries are eating up many budgets.
Gas prices have jumped at many stations to $2.75 a gallon in Cincinnati in the past week, with other stations at $2.69, and are up 45 cents since January, according to Gas Buddy.com.
Gabriel Williams of Madisonville worries there is more to come.
"It was originally in the ones, $1.67, to the lower two's," she said. "Now the prices are going up toward the threes."
She may be right, given Texas refinery shutdowns, $60-a-barrel oil, and increased driving this year. Last year, the pandemic sent demand -- and oil prices -- plunging to 10-year lows. That demand is sharply higher now.
Grocery prices up for 12 months in a row
When you are done filling up your car at those higher prices, you can head over to the grocery store, where you will pay more for milk and produce.
Donald and Heather Dragsted were shopping the Walmart on Red Bank Road in Fairfax, where they say milk prices recently increased from $1.89 to over $2.40 a gallon (a gallon of whole milk was $2.42 inside the store at the time we spoke with them).
"Prices on milk and stuff, and a lot of other things are up," Dragsted said.
They were also stunned by recent price hikes on Coca-Cola products, primarily due to ongoing aluminum can shortages.
"Pop is is $7.99 a 12-pack," the couple said.
February's freezes in Texas, meantime, are sending produce prices up, according to the government.
Julie Puntanay noticed iceberg lettuce up to a $1.48 a head, after paying $1.25 a few months ago.
"Oranges, lettuce, and produce especially, have gone up," she said. "Cereal is also getting crazy."
It all has shoppers like Gabrielle Williams feeling the pinch.
"If your bill was originally $200 and it jumps to $300, how are people going to be able to afford that?" she wondered.
The USDA says grocery prices were up 3.5 percent in 2020, the most in a decade.
On top of that, many items that jumped in price last summer -- like beef and chicken -- have yet to come back down.
So that next round of $1,400 stimulus checks cannot come fast enough.
As always, don't waste your money.
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